Dreams are stories and images that our minds create while we sleep. They can be entertaining, fun, romantic, disturbing, frightening, and sometimes bizarre.
Although it is hard to define what a dream is, for the purpose of this article, we will define dreams as our thoughts during sleep that we recall when we wake up. So, sleeping dreams are not the same as “daydreaming.” Dreams are mostly visual (made up of scenes and faces; sound, taste, and smell are rare in dreams). Dreams can range from truly strange to rather boring, snapshots from a recent event.
Facts on Dreams
- We may not remember dreaming, but everyone is thought to dream between 3 and 6 times per night.
- Dreams improve creativity and problem solving.
- It is thought that each dream lasts between 5 to 20 minutes.
- Dreams regulate our moods and emotions.
- Around 95 percent of dreams are forgotten by the time a person gets out of bed.
- Dreaming can help you learn and develop long-term memories.
- Blind people dream more with other sensory components compared with sighted people.
- Dreams support memories.
Types of Dreams
There are 5 main types of dreams :
1. Normal Dreams
Common dreams about people and experiences that we can sometimes forget.
2. Day Dreams
When we escape from reality and visualise the past, present & future throughout the day.
3. Lucid Dreams
Being completely aware and in control of dream the dream you are having while you sleep.
4. False Awakening Dreams
A vivid type of dream that feels like you have woken up but you are actually still asleep.
The least favourite type of dream. Nightmares are disturbing and scary dreams that can feel realistic.
Whether you remember your dreams or not, most people dream every night during REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movements, which happen during this stage of sleep. During REM sleep, muscle and brain activity also differ from other sleep stages. Characteristics of dreams tend to be different for each of these sleep stages.
There are different ways scientists measure dreams from asking questions to using MRI. These studies show us that activity in the brain while we sleep gives us the interesting dreams we recall when we wake up. These dreams help us remember things, be more creative, and process our emotions.
We know most kids do not get enough sleep. Some diseases (like Alzheimer’s disease) also make people sleep less, while others (like REM sleep behaviour disorder and mood disorders) affect dreams directly. It is important to study sleep and dreams to understand what happens when we do not get enough sleep and how we can treat people with these diseases.